Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board Discusses Public Safety, Importance of Local Reporting

Councilmember Evan Glass and local media representatives were featured guests at Monday’s Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board meeting, who discussed public safety updates and the importance of local journalism.

Glass first noted that the upcoming capital budget assures money for security cameras in parking garages. This safety measure has been widely popular among the community, and Glass said he was glad it was included in the budget.

“People need to feel safe when they come down,” Glass said. “Unfortunately, too many people do not feel safe enough to park in our garages and walk around.”

Glass added that, if approved, there will be about 286 garage cameras throughout the Central Business District. Specifically, he named Silver Spring, Bethesda and Wheaton as program recipients.

While discussing cameras, Glass mentioned that the Private Security Camera Incentive Program will be expanded to include more geographic areas. This program provides rebates for private security cameras to residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations within a designated area. Although the program has been active since Nov. 15, 2023, many residents did not qualify for the rebate.

Montgomery County residents and business owners are encouraged to look at the updated map to determine if they are within the new designated areas. The program will reimburse up to $250 for residents and up to $1,250 for businesses and nonprofits.

Glass also provided updates on the Late Night Establishments Bill (PDF). The legislation, which will require all late-night businesses to close at 2 a.m. on weeknights and 3 a.m. on weekends, will be discussed at a work session on Thursday. Glass said he expects the legislation will be approved by the Public Safety and Economic Development Committees and is hopeful it can be passed by the full council soon.

Board members and attendees also heard from Danielle Ricks of Montgomery Community Media and David Lay of Source of the Spring. Ricks and Lay informed listeners of the valuable resources they provide and asked the community to help support them.

Lay, owner and publisher of the Source, mentioned that readers can contribute financial donations through a Google pop-up on their website. He also encouraged local businesses to advertise through the Source.

“We have the reach that hardly anybody else has,” Lay said. “We’re one of the real, boots-on-the-ground publications in Silver Spring that will specifically cover this area and also live here.”

Montgomery County Media has a different approach to spreading information. While the nonprofit organization does provide daily local news, it also offers media education and training, as well as video services and studio rentals. Ricks, Director Of Education and Community Engagement, said the best way to support Montgomery Community Media is through watching their channels, subscribing to the newsletter and becoming a member, which provides access to their many workspaces and classes.

Ricks also mentioned that the community can support Montgomery Community Media by providing content. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Ricks said their traditional business model, which relied on community members using their studio, doesn’t work the same anymore.

“We have a really good product, but we are in search of content,” Ricks said. “If you have content, please let me know. I’ve got a place to put it.”

Lay later echoed this message to businesses.

“I would encourage these businesses and organizations that want coverage to get in touch with us,” he said. “Reach out to us, email us, don’t just tag us in posts on social media.”

Until the next Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board meeting on April 8, residents are encouraged to take time off and enjoy the upcoming spring break with their families.

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